Marquis Taylor, 29, is a man making a difference. Once a working professional on Wall Street, Taylor left his job in real estate finance and dedicated his time to helping youth in low-income communities through his grassroots organization, Coaching4Change.
As the founder and executive director of the program, Taylor mentors the youth by teaching them the fundamental lessons provided through sports. His mentoring guidelines are designed to stimulate the educational environment of kids in urban areas and they have proven to bring positive change to these impoverished communities. Taylor’s mentorship program has directly affected one student in particular who grew up in a single home with eight siblings, according to a story reported by The Huffington Post.
The student was frequently in trouble and failing most of his classes but with Taylor’s guidance, he was able to raise his GPA almost two full points and he became inspired to launch an after-school program where he taught younger students the basics of basketball. For Taylor, many of the lives of students he has helped reflect on some of the same hardships he faced as a child.
Taylor grew up raised by his single mother in South Central L.A. where he was exposed to drugs, violence and poverty at an early age. He was also diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, which had a direct impact on his academic success.
“We grew up in the epicenter of where the LA riots started,” Taylor tells Carolyn Gregoire of The Huffington Post. “It was always a struggle, trying to understand the way of the world and being really confused by a lot of the things I saw and experienced.” Instead, basketball served as a personal outlet that allowed him to express his many other talents and ultimately, the sport taught him key lessons in teamwork and leadership.
“I was like a lot of kids — the goal was being the next Kobe or the next LeBron,” Taylor said. “Just being in the NBA was the thing that really motivated me. I was never really good at school, I struggled in school.”
Eventually, Taylor earned scholarships, graduated from Stonehill College in Massachusetts and was offered a deal to play professional basketball overseas. Instead, he passed on the offer and took a job on Wall Street where he sold low-income housing tax credits; the position required him to travel to low-income housing areas around the nation.
During these travels, Taylor was exposed to some of the nation’s most poverty-stricken communities, which soon inspired him to take a more hands-on approach to helping youth in welfare-dependent households. In doing so, he turned to sports and hoped that basketball would help improve the lives of these kids just as much as it helped to better his.
Soon, Taylor launched Coaching4Change in 2011. The non-profit organization works with high schools in the Brockton, Mass., area to create mentoring programs for students who often come from homes where their parents are incarcerated or face homelessness.
The program focuses on encouraging young students to stay in school, dream big and earn achievements in all aspects of their lives, which are often successes prohibited by the negative influences some are exposed to growing up. The program’s website says, “Coaching4Change is more than a youth sports organization…it is inspiring urban youth to learn about social and community issues then take action by creating change.”
To find out more about the organization, click here.
article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com